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Purim

PJTC 2021 Purim Programming  |  Online Purim Resources 

 

What is Purim?

Purim - The Feast of Lots - is a celebration of the saving of the Jewish people from a massacre in Persia (modern day Iran) during the period of 539-330BC. The heroine of the story is Esther, as told in her namesake scroll "The Book of Esther." She was a Jewish woman who rose to become the Queen of Persia (though most people were not aware she was Jewish, including the King). When the hateful grand vizier, Haman, plots the destruction of the Jewish people, Queen Esther's cousin and guardian, Mordecai, convinces her to use her power to help her Jewish brethren. Despite being scared for her own life, she bravely reveals her Jewish identity to her husband, King Ahashverosh, and asks him to support her and the Jewish people...and he does! Haman and his followers are punished in place of the Jews that they targeted.

What are the customs and traditions followed on Purim?

Baking Hamantaschen: In preparation for Purim, many people bake home made hamantashcen, a triangular-shaped and filled pastry that is reminiscent of the three-cornered hat the evil Haman wore in the story of Purim. See below for recipes! (And, there's no shame in buying professionally baked hamantaschen to enjoy...not everyone is a master chef.)

Megillah Reading: Reading the scroll of Esther in synagogue is the centerpiece of the Purim celebration. While most of the time, parents are hushing their children during services, during the Purim Megillah reading, raucous behavior is actually encouraged. Especially when those telling the story solicit all of the cheering (for Esther and "the good guys") and booing/noisemaking (for Haman and his minions) that have become a well-practiced part of the listening experience. 

Purim Theatrics: Special reenactments of the story of Purim are often displayed for the entertainment of your little ones outside of synagogue. Watching older children and adults have fun and be silly pretending to be the well-known characters of Queen Esther and Haman is a great Purim pastime for children. Not only do the actors tend to dress up, but children take the opportunity to dress up as their favorite Purim characters too!...or Batman, Kobe Bryant, Rey from Star Wars, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle...you know, other people who save the day, like Esther.

Groggers: A grogger (gragger in Yiddish, ra'ashan in Hebrew) is a noisemaker that is used to drown out Haman's name during the Megillah reading on Purim. It is a hand held item that is normally a rachet/spinning device or something hollow that's contents rattle when shaken.

Mishloach Manot: Purim is a holiday during which we focus on taking care of our community, just as Esther did for hers. Common practice is to create care packages filled with food for family, neighbors, friends and the poor to make sure everyone has food on their table. Tzedakah (Hebrew for "rightous giving" or "commanded giving," pronouced tzuh-DAH-kah) and Matanot l’evyonim (Hebrew for "gifts to the poor", pronounced mah-tah-NOTE leh-ehv-yon-EEM) are big themes of Purim, and in Judaism in generalWhat might you include in your Mishloach Manot basket? Hamantaschen are generally a staple, as well as fruit. But the fun of it is creating the basket that is uniquely from you or for your intended recipients. Maybe your circle prefers wine and cheese? Perhaps your audience is on the younger side and might like yummy snacks, groggers and masks?

Taanit Esther: (pronouced tah-ah-NEET EH-ster) Hebrew for "The Fast of Esther" - from sunrise to sunset on the day before Purim, we fast as did Esther and the Jewish people. 

Se'udah: (pronouced seh-oo-DAH or SOO-dah) A festive meal is generally shared with family and friends, occasionally followed by (for the adults) alcoholic libations.

Attire: Purim is a festive holiday and people tend to dress, well, festive. It's a "let loose" kind of holiday that encourages a party atmosphere and fun costumes.

 

The Significance of Purim

Purim's core is a celebration of Esther's courage and her care for her community over her own safety, which saved the Jewish people in Persia from an evil plot to destroy them. We focus on the joy of knowing our people were saved. We focus on Esther as a role model for putting the care of your community first. And, we focus on the hope that this story gives us - that through the bravery of individuals and the will of God, everything will be alright in the end. 

 

2021 PJTC Member Programming

 

Our Purim activities will be centered around the 4 mitzvot of Purim (and FUN!). 

Purim Se'udah [A festive meal] Making your own homecooked Purim meal? Skip to Step 3...STEP 1: Plan for a catered Persian meal for Purim by ordering online here by February 23rd. STEP 2: Pick up your meal at PJTC on February 25th at 5:30pm (social distancing will be observed / masks required). STEP 3: Come together virtually for a community meal and Megillah reading. Enjoy the company and seeing the smiling faces of your fellow congregants as you eat on February 25th at 6:30pm! Members will be emailed Zoom details.

Kr'iat Megillah [Reading of the Megillah] Teens & Adults: Listen to the reading of the Book of Esther, Thursday, February 25 @7pm via live stream by clicking here. Members will receive an email with an optional Zoom link. Feel free to bring your noise makers, dinner, and beverages to the screen. Youth and families will have the opportunity to watch a kid-friendly version of the megillah reading as part of our Purim CAR-nival on Sunday, February 28th.

Mishloach Manot [Giving gift baskets to friends and family] PJTC Sisterhood is bringing their "Happy Purim" gift baskets to as many congregants as possible this year! As a final "booth" for the Purim CAR-nival, LBSRS families will pick up gift bags for contactless (but certainly costumed!) delivery to congregants in their neighborhoods on the afternoon of Sunday, February 28th. Be sure your PJTC friends & family see YOUR name on the "giving" list by supporting this mitzvah. Members will receive emails with donation information. (If you are not a PJTC member and want to make a donation, click here to email Sisterhood).

Matanot La'evyonim [Charitable giving] As part of this year's Purim CAR-nival on February, 28th, participants can donate to tzedakah and take a shot, from their cars, at dunking the clergy in our first-ever dunk tank!

 

Drive-Thru Event: Purim CAR-nival    February 28th from 11:00am - 1:00pm

Even your car can dress up in a Purim costume this year! All ages are welcome to sign up for a time slot and enjoy a drive-through, COVID-friendly Purim carnival experience. A mix of games, distanced interactive experiences, a Rabbi & Cantor dunk tank for charity, and more! Click here to sign up for a drive-thru time slot!

How can your car be in costume, you ask? Here's some inspiration...

    

      

 

Online Resources

​​​Getting Ready for Purim:

Song & Prayer:

Kids Corner

Mon, April 12 2021 30 Nisan 5781